DARKTHRONE — Transilvanian Hunger

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DARKTHRONE - Transilvanian Hunger cover
4.08 | 32 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1994

Filed under Black Metal


1. Transilvanian Hunger (6:09)
2. Over fjell og gjennom torner (2:29)
3. Skald av Satans sol (4:28)
4. Slottet i det fjerne (4:45)
5. Graven tåkeheimens saler (4:59)
6. I en hall med flesk og mjød (5:12)
7. As Flittermice as Satans Spys (5:55)
8. En ås i dype skogen (5:02)

Total Time: 39:03


- Nocturno Culto / Vocals
- Fenriz / Drums, guitar, bass

About this release

Peaceville Records
February 17th, 1994

Two different presses came out the same year.

Reissued and remastered in 2003 as a digipak featuring a video interview clip.

Thanks to the t 666, Vehemency for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

The album which inspired the musical approach of every kvlter-than-thou black metal band out there, Transilvanian Hunger bursts forth with more enthusiasm, energy and anger than any preceding Darkthrone album. Produced in the wake of the killing of Euronymous, which rocked the entire Norwegian scene, Darkthrone poured oil on the fire with their provocative use of lyrics by Varg Vikernes, though the lyrics themselves aren't that contentious. What's really shocking, though, is the sheer anger and passion the duo are able to convey with the carefully optimised lo-fi production (lo-fi enough to make the guitars good and fuzzy, not so lo-fi that you can't make out what's going on) and the stark, cold atmosphere of the thing.

With the occasional tape defect working its way in thanks to the recording techniques, this isn't for everyone, but I personally like it that way - the odd glitch makes it feel as though the album is some kind of contraband not meant for mortal ears, putting the listener in the position of a voyeur spying on Fenriz and Nocturno Culto's weird black metal rituals in the depths of the Norwegian wastes. Not something to listen to regularly, but a powerful experience whenever I give it a spin.
The Angry Scotsman
One of the absolute essentials of pure black metal.

If that sounds good to you, than this is a must. If it does not, there is no need to ever listen to this album.

I personally, fall into the latter. Now, if you do not know what black metal is... than I will tell you what this album is about. Musically, this album is almost entirely tremolo picking, blast beats, and a tortured growling.

The guitar work is high register, and almost nothing but long chains of tremolo picking, changing infrequently throughout. The drumming is purely blast beats (except for the rare fill and rarer break) there is no bass to be heard and the vocals are incomprehensible. While the vocal style is more important than the lyrics, there are lyrics which are anti-Christian and generally paint a bleak, hopeless picture. Some lyrics were written by the famous, (or infamous) Varg Vikernes.

The production is extremely low fi. Sometime the drumming sounds like nothing more than a lot of cymbal hits, sometimes can barely be heard amongst the guitar buzz. If this sounds boring and/or disturbing to you I will present the album in another way, for all fairness.

This was all done purposely, to create an atmosphere. An atmosphere that is cold. The extreme, minimalist songs and vocals do create a hypnotic quality. The raw production adds to the cold atmosphere. One that is also brimming with angst. Maybe surprising, but this album is really very emotional when you think about it. Musically, lyrically, aesthetically pushing hatred, loneliness, depression and isolation to the max.

The song "Skald av Satans Sol" is actually a bit different, featuring a real riff and more movement. There's even a guitar solo! Albeit a minimal one. Contrasting the albums slow moving pace, this song is very frenetic and has a pretty cool riff they use a lot. I can say I actually enjoy this song.

So take it for what it is, a total purposeful sacrifice of musicianship for aesthetics. One that is not lost on me but just a bit difficult and tiresome. Thanks to that one song, and the rest not being too lengthy I can appreciate this album a bit more than most traditional black metal.

Two Stars Only if you let this album immerse you, rather than "listening"
On Transilvanian Hunger, Darkthrone uses a certain code in every song. The code is monotonous black metal: the drums play almost exclusively a blast beat while the guitars are a stream of tremolo firing. Not that the music was extremely fast or anything like that, no. Instead, Transilvanian Hunger is just purely grim, cold, evil and at times melancholic, and the incessant buzz of simple, low fidelity black metal is almost a soothing experience.

Darkthrone rarely goes astray from this certain style on Transilvanian Hunger: one exception would be ”Skald Av Satans Sol” which has more diverse approach from compositional point of view. Otherwise, the monotonus buzzing is always evident, perhaps ”I En Hall Med Flesk Og Mjod” being the most hypnotic out of the 8 tracks, not to underestimate the impact of the other tracks either. When you have heard the first track - the legendary title track - and have taken a look at the front cover art, you basically know what the 39 minutes provide.

I have said it before and I say it again, there is no way I can objectively put into words why exactly some album deserves full score. What I can say, however, is that Transilvanian Hunger was one of the first black metal albums I heard along with the other evident Norwegian bands of that time. Transilvanian Hunger has always stood out as the grimmest of them all, there is no question of that. Not even when we look at any album today. My opinion is of course influenced by a heavy amount of nostalgia, but still. As stated by many others, I believe too that Transilvanian Hunger is a perfect example of essential black metal.

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